Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Gravity wave spectra in the lower stratosphere diagnosed from project loon balloon trajectories

Abstract : Project Loon has been launching superpressure balloons since January 2013 to provide worldwide Internet coverage. These balloons typically fly between 18 and 21 km and provide measurements of winds and pressure fluctuations in the lower stratosphere. We divide 1560 Loon flights into 3405 two-day segments for gravity wave analysis. We derive the kinetic energy spectrum from the horizontal balloon motion and estimate the temperature perturbation spectrum (proportional to the potential energy spectrum) from the pressure variations. We fit the temperature (and kinetic energy) data to the functional form T'2 = T'o2[ω/ωο)α, where ω is the wave frequency, ωο is daily frequency, T'o is the base temperature amplitude, and α is the spectral slope. Both the kinetic energy and temperature spectra show -1.9 ± 0.2 power-law dependence in the intrinsic frequency window 3-50 cycles/day. The temperature spectrum slope is weakly anticorrelated with the base temperature amplitude. We also find that the wave base temperature distribution is highly skewed. The tropical modal temperature is 0.77 K. The highest amplitude waves occur over the mountainous regions, the tropics, and the high southern latitudes. Temperature amplitudes show little height variation over our 18-21 km domain. Our results are consistent with other limited superpressure balloon analyses. The modal temperature is higher than the temperature currently used in high-frequency gravity wave parameterizations.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Nathalie POTHIER Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, July 27, 2022 - 8:29:05 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, August 2, 2022 - 4:00:10 AM


JGR Atmospheres - 2017 - Schoe...
Publisher files allowed on an open archive





M. R. Schoeberl, E. Jensen, A. Podglajen, L. Coy, C. Lodha, et al.. Gravity wave spectra in the lower stratosphere diagnosed from project loon balloon trajectories. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 2017, 122, pp.8517-8524. ⟨10.1002/2017JD026471⟩. ⟨insu-03727056⟩



Record views


Files downloads